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Essorant
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50 posted 06-29-2006 12:57 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

I think adding "pre" and "ed" to the word determine locks determinism into a beforehandness and past tense, and therefore is not "absolute" but excluding to the present.  The determinism that I agree with is one that doesn't exclude anything, where everything from head to toe of the universe has a determining part in one way or another.   What many people stereoptically make out as determinism, would more accuratly be called predeterminedism.  I certainly wouldn't call it "absolute" though.


Stephanos
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51 posted 06-29-2006 05:21 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Essorant,

Then your comment was not addressing what I am referring to... determinism.  Regardless of whether you think it ought to be called "predeterminedism", it is currently called determinism.  And when I say "absolute", I'm only being redundant for emphasis.  Because the doctrine is already "absolute" by its very definition.  Also, its definition is according to usage pretty much across the board, and has nothing to do with a stereotype.  

  

de·ter·min·ism  Pronunciation Key  (d-tūr-muh-ni-zum)
n.
The philosophical doctrine that every state of affairs, including every human event, act, and decision is the inevitable consequence of antecedent states of affairs.




But commenting on your view (which does not seem to be determinism) ... I suspect that there are some problems with it, though I'm not yet sure what exactly you believe.  So I'll start one question at a time so you can clarify it for me:  

Is it your belief that every part of the universe actually has a will?


Stephen.
Stephanos
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52 posted 06-29-2006 07:37 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Kif Kif:
quote:
One of the problems with dicussing religion is it's archaic language. There's none of that here, though!



You may disagree, but I've actually found that the "language" of religion ... particularly the Bible, is usually only archaic in terms of translation choice.  The main ideas / truths are applicable now as much as they were then ... and so can be expressed in contemporary language quite well.  But many get "stuck" in a particular translation of the Bible, perhaps a few centuries old (like the King James Version) and lose the ability to communicate meaningfully to the present generation.

But for whatever it's worth, I'm glad that I'm communicating well with you.    


quote:
I'm now thinking about nature naturing. Are you suggesting we're un-natural?



No, I suppose that I'm insisting that we are not "merely" natural, and that nature must not be the totality of everything, lest it become the totality of nothing and negate whatever "meaning" we try to ascribe.  If you think it's far fetched that a naturalist would come to such a fatalism, I would reply that many have ... mostly the most consistently logical of them.  Bertrand Russell was one of them:


"Brief and powerless is Man's life; on him and all his race the slow, sure doom falls pitiless and dark. Blind to good and evil, reckless of destruction, omnipotent matter rolls on its relentless way; for Man, condemned to-day to lose his dearest, to-morrow himself to pass through the gate of darkness, it remains only to cherish, ere yet the blow falls, the lofty thoughts that ennoble his little day; disdaining the coward terrors of the slave of Fate, to worship at the shrine that his own hands have built; undismayed by the empire of chance, to preserve a mind free from the wanton tyranny that rules his outward life; proudly defiant of the irresistible forces that tolerate, for a moment, his knowledge and his condemnation, to sustain alone, a weary but unyielding Atlas, the world that his own ideals have fashioned despite the trampling march of unconscious power. (From "A Free Man's Worship")


quote:
Einstein said; "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not with a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."


But Einstein only drew the anthropological line a little bit farther, retaining "orderly harmony".  If God does not concern himself with humanity, then how can we be assured that he concerns himself with human ideals ... namely order, symmetry, and beauty?  Unless God is personal, then even the assurance of these basic things is bound to be lost.  And if you peruse the Existential Philosophers (who took the humanism of the Enlightenment seriously), you'll see that this has already been happening.  

I just think that Einstein was overly optimistic for his own philsophy, being both Jewish and good natured as he was.  One can see that he struggled with this when he said "God doesn't play dice with the universe".  For whatever reason, being unable to accept the "personal" God of the Judeo-Christian tradition, he was also unable to accept the implications of an impersonal "all".  So he ended up nearly a Pantheist.  But I've already hinted at the problems with that view, with which there can be no assurance that "the universe is friendly", to use Einstein's own musing.      


quote:
I wonder if the Bible assertained that "God made man in his own image" to give man something familiar to picture when thinking about the abstract Idea.



I think the "image" that was given to us, was an ontological reality where value, purpose, emotions were conveyed.  The "image" part is a reminder that what we are is divinely authored, and thus the particulars of our earthly existence is grounded in the Heavenly absolute.


And while I think that our image gives us a starting point, to know something of God from nature  (Theologians call this "natural theology") and that that was intended by God, I don't think that it was merely given by the writers of scripture to trick us into personifying the universe ... if that's what you mean.    


But like all prodigals, I think a glance in the mirror can (under the right influences) remind us of our Father.   His identification with us through creation, and ultimately through incarnation is no accident.


quote:
You mention an issue of seperation between the Christian Ideology and Pantheism, yet say nothing about The Creation Epics from which the ideas come. People have always personified...perhaps our imaginations are not as vast as we'd like to believe?



While certain Creation stories may have predated the book of Genesis  ... I'm not aware of any of them which predate creation itself.       I know that sounds like I'm mocking you or something, but what I mean is this:  It's not surprising that civilizations would repeat or even invent creation stories, if that's indeed the beginning of our race.  The Bible doesn't only assert that we are physically connected to God through creation, but Spiritually as well.  Therefore the imagination of humanity, through Pagan religions, was only expressing imperfectly and through myth what was a reality known on a deeper level than mere intellectual history.  "For since the creation of the world, his invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made ...." the Apostle Paul tells us.  C.S. Lewis saw much of Paganism "foreshadowing" Christianity.  Of Course one may assume that borrowing is only explanation.  But even if literary borrowing occurred (though even that is not certain when it comes to the Genesis account), the unique divine inspiration of the Bible is not thereby disproven ... especially if surmising "creation" is only natural for mankind to do.  


There is one distinct difference between the creation myths of Paganism, and the Genesis account, which sets the Biblical version on quite a different plane.  If you're interested I'll go into it.  


quote:
Or, to put it another way, the cosmos is a finite reflection of infinite Truth, like a memory? (It's difficult to avoid abstractions!) I used the memory idea, as then it's easy to see how bad things come in (evil, irrationality). Memories can fade, and become mixed-up, like a childhood game of whispers, the true message can be lost (through processing!)



Actually the "memory" analogy is very close to what I believe ... as an analogy of course.  It's actually very close to Christian Theology of the Fall.  Only, if it stands alone, many questions come up.  Such as:  

-Since we are "living" the memory, how can we be assurred that this muddle is only a memory and not the way things have always been, and must always be?  Someone who is "awake" would have to have told us?  

-How do we know we'll ever get back to that which we remember?  How do we avoid falling into the fatalism of believing that reality resides in the past, and that the future will only bring us increasingly distorted memory?

-If there is a spiritual "truth" or "right" or "reality", then why and upon what authority does it stand?


quote:
Yet rationality, morality and choices are bound up with our predetermined desire for survival.



But whether or not we should desire survival for ourselves and our offspring (some don't as you certainly know) is itself a moral question.  You might reply that morality has nothing to do with it, since our desire for survival precedes our consideration.  But does that really matter, once consideration comes?  We are currently questioning nature, so we can't absolutize any of her tendencies in order to answer the question.  Also rationality cannot rest on the will to survive, if the question arises as to whether or not it is rational to desire survival or death.  Rationality and morality are the judge of these, not the other way around.    

C.S. Lewis put it like this:

"Telling us to obey Instinct is like telling us to obey 'people'. People say different things: so do instincts. Our instincts are at war. If it is held that the instinct for preserving the species should always be obeyed at the expense of other instincts, whence do we derive this rule of precedence? To listen to that instinct speaking in its own cause and deciding it in its own favour would be rather simple-minded. Each instinct, if you listen to it, will claim to be gratified at the expense of all the rest. By the very act of listening to one rather than to others we have already prejudged the case. If we did not bring to the examination of our instincts a knowledge of their comparative dignity we could never learn it from them. And that knowledge cannot itself be instinctive: the judge cannot be one of the parties judged; or, if he is, the decision is worthless and there is no ground for placing the preservation of the species above self-preservation or sexual appetite."(From "The Abolition of Man")


And if you say that the final irreducible desire for survival is expressed in self-preservation ... I would respond by saying that there are situations where that mindset would be the opposite of moral (though not always).  But either way the question of survival must be subject to the moral question, not vice versa.  Would we excuse someone for killing 100 people to save himself?  And whether or not the race as a whole survives, is a distinctly moral question, not an instinct set above self preservation.  Again, both examples are subject to the moral question ... not the source of it.


quote:
Back onto the question of purpose, I've been thinking about this in terms of art and music, and the word "emotive" keeps popping up. Music and art manage to communicate emotively, thus personalising a universal communication. Perhaps this is a step toward trancendence?


But isn't this merely to say that we ourselves (and thus in our art) are personal?  To personalize a universal communication still begs the question of whether or not personality itself has any transcendent purpose ... or whether or not there is really anyone "out there" to communicate to.  That's why the whole "DaDa" art movement was born, in my opinion.  Taking existential philsophy into the artistic expression, nihilism in art was the next step.  


Of course, I'm not saying that you're not on to something here.  Our "art" in its outreaching way, and personal way, is indeed a clue to whether there is anything transcendent "out there".  Because it represents a hunger ... and even in nature, we rarely see a stomach given with no corresponding food.  But it is supra- or super-natural from whence such bread comes.  


Sorry this was so long,


Stephen.
      
Essorant
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53 posted 06-29-2006 09:56 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos

I don't agree with that approach to definitions.  Just because determinism is used to mean a "pre-determined-ism" doesn't mean it may not mean determin-ism, where the word determine is used without a stipulation of beforehandedness or past tense.  Should Christianity only be defined  according to only one way of believing in Christ?  No?  Then why should determinism to only one way of determinism?  It is like the word Science "knowledge", that people try to narrow down to only meaning this or that kind of knowledge, and then when you say science meaning knowledge in general they say:" that's not science!"    Am I the only one that finds that irritating?  

Essorant
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54 posted 06-29-2006 11:30 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"Is it your belief that every part of the universe actually has a will?"

Not that every part has a will; but that every part has a determining force.  For example, The sun doesn't have a will of its own, but it determines a great part of how things are in the solar-system.  Without the sun, I think there would be very little "system" in this part of the universe.

Stephanos
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55 posted 06-30-2006 12:23 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

Ess:
quote:
...the word determine ... used without a stipulation of beforehandedness or past tense.



Again Essorant, you're not even using the root word "determine" correctly.  How can you determine anything without a "stipulation" before and after?  


quote:
Should Christianity only be defined  according to only one way of believing in Christ?  No?  Then why should determinism to only one way of determinism?



Actually you should know me by now, that I think in postmodern times our malady is that we are far too broad in our definition of what Christianity is.  Of course there has been much error in the other direction, but overcorrection doesn't get us on the road again but in the other ditch.

quote:
Am I the only one that finds that irritating?


Of course there's a point to what you're saying.  But think of this from my perspective.  I used "determinism" in this thread with a particular broadly-accepted definition in mind, and you responded by trying to reinvent the word to fit your own idea ... rather than responding to the idea I set forth behind the word I chose.  Are we here to debate semantics, or to discuss ideas?  Not every thread is for venting your desires to rewrite the English language.  


There ... Sorry I guess I was a little irritated too.    


quote:
Not that every part has a will; but that every part has a determining force.  For example, The sun doesn't have a will of its own, but it determines a great part of how things are in the solar-system.  Without the sun, I think there would be very little "system" in this part of the universe.



But determinism also says that every part has a determining force, immediately contingent on what went before it, and immediately causative of what comes after.  Since, in a naturalistic scheme, the sun is utterly dependent upon preceding conditions and events ... could not necessitarianism (if you like that word better) be argued for?


          
Look, Bottom line is that I certainly don't agree with determinism either.  But you should at least not add to the confusion by trying to express yourself with the very same terminology.  You're the wordsmith, invent a word!


Stephen.
Essorant
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56 posted 06-30-2006 03:00 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Stephanos,

"Again Essorant, you're not even using the root word "determine" correctly.  How can you determine anything without a "stipulation" before and after? "

By making the determination something that is still taking place, instead of as already done beforehand, as the word "predetermined" implies.


"Actually you should know me by now, that I think in postmodern times our malady is that we are far too broad in our definition of what Christianity is.  Of course there has been much error in the other direction, but overcorrection doesn't get us on the road again but in the other ditch."

Forsooth I think I do.  
But you still accept more Christianities than just yours as being Christianity; why then may you not accept more than one determinism?


"Of course there's a point to what you're saying.  But think of this from my perspective.  I used "determinism" in this thread with a particular broadly-accepted definition in mind, and you responded by trying to reinvent the word to fit your own idea ... rather than responding to the idea I set forth behind the word I chose.  Are we here to debate semantics, or to discuss ideas?  Not every thread is for venting your desires to rewrite the English language. "

But when you say "determinism" you now are talking to anyone that believes in determinism in whatever way they believe in it, not just in one specific way.  But you tried to make determinism out as a "tyranny" and then back up your points against determinism with suggestions about one specific kind of determinism: a "predeterminedism" kind, and then seemed to make that out as if it incriminates not just that one kind but all determinism in general.  In the "Cornered" thread I expressed all  a determinism that is not at all "tyrranical" but that has each part partly determining a part of everything, at the same time as the whole wholly determines everything.  It is discouraging that after a whole philosophy is expressed at this site with toil, that in the end it is only a one or two-liner in a dictionary that gets to say what determinism may be.  If that it is how  goes, why don't we just exchange dictionary-definitions from now on?                      


"But determinism also says that every part has a determining force, immediately contingent on what went before it, and immediately causative of what comes after.  Since, in a naturalistic scheme, the sun is utterly dependent upon preceding conditions and events ... could not necessitarianism (if you like that word better) be argued for? "


But earlier all you suggested in your points about determinism was that it was tyrrany and suggested that rationality, morals and choices were  "predetermined" that didn't suggest any continuation of determination.  If you acknowledge that determinism includes determining in the present tense, including ourselves determining things, moral, choices, reasoning, then what sets you against it?  

kif kif
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57 posted 06-30-2006 09:18 AM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

I think I get what you're saying, Stephen. Nature is finite, Ideas are infinite.

I say, the ideas of nature is infinite, as we understand it.

You say that Order Symmetry and Beauty are human ideals, following your argument, unnatural, I will disagree, for these ideal patterns are repeated in everything that occurs naturally. Perhaps the human conciousness reflects the natural harmony with thoughts of this?

I do believe that the opinions created by the word "friendly" (what exactly is it's opposite?) is an entirely human construct to help us define a safer order. Like humans do, leaving room to abuse...my idea of God is not friendly, like my idea of the universe, it does not possess human traits; it does not love, hate, feel sadness or happiness, rather it invokes these sensations in the living organisms effected by it. If I am to apply a definition, without knowing too much myself, I'll reference Plato's writing of Forms. (I gather, a thing in Itself, indifferent, yet effecting our senses?)

Bringing me beautifully to Christianity, as I understand it. The Christian God is not indifferent...and "the image that was given to us" has been wildly misinterpretated in my view. Our quest in reproduction is our hamartia (I'm a sucker for gobble-de-greek) as we're stuck on the personal/finite. As for what 'that image' really is"...the esoteric's so emotive, will it ever be possible to get over our personal connection to it, and embrace the abstract impersonal(to see 'what sparks' the universal)? For I believe that the personal connection is just the first step in true communication.    

I agree, there is much written about Paganism foreshadowing Christianity...I have an opinion about The Book Of Kells, and have argued with an intellligently fine Irish person as to it's beginnings. (Don't worry, I enjoy being mocked, but I don't feel you have, yet!) Pictorially, a face appears, and is repeated within the intricate workings of natural design-a relief to centre on amongst the wildness this Masterpiece depicts?

Of course I'm interested!  

The question, "is it rational to desire death?" Is it reasonable to love death? Death is an unknown knowledge. We know parts of what happen, and have a strong desire/love to understand what we can't see, until it happens to us, personally-like having a faithful 'mystical experience'.

Perhaps consideration is caused by our love of survival, and respect for death?

The question of instinct is a big one, but to be frivolous; if you listen to one instinct too intently, the others fade into the background. I think people have repressed some instincts, like the memory idea...

About rationality. Our instincts remind us, yet I think we then decide (a decision, all too often, affected by our finite surroundings) whether or not to listen to that instinct-sometimes, the connection between our instincts and the ideal of rationality is short-circuited by something...fear of causing an effect?  

"Would we excuse a person for killing 100 people to save himself?"
A moral question. What if the 100 people were mescaline eating cannibals, renowned for their massive tribe of crystal meth dealers, all over the world? To be even more obvious, what if the man was an esteemed surgeon, and was the leading light in war-torn healthcare?  

I don't know if it's about whether there's "anyone out there to communicate to", rather trancendence could be universally communicating the understanding that something "out there" is within all of us.

I like your representation of hunger, "in nature, we rarely see a stomach given with no corresponding food". You're right, yet we also see drought. Perhaps this is where the will to irrigate comes in? A super-natural action?

I can't give up the thought that nature/the universe holds these patterns, and our thinking is rippling within it...

Long time, (let's not apologise about that) undecided.

[This message has been edited by kif kif (06-30-2006 10:27 AM).]

kif kif
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58 posted 06-30-2006 11:00 AM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Essorant; I think you're confusing the issue by slicing up unslicable words.

Pre-determined is just determined, by definition, which confusingly enough, means the same when applied to the purpose of Art.

Perhaps this is where the seperation comes in? Art/faithful representation is determined with a desire to express *Truth/God-Truth/God, a thing in *itself, reflected in the Universal, is not determined by desire, rather *It appears to us, tarnished or untarnished from our love for It.

This brings me to thoughts of why word definitions must be air-tight, to use an old-timer. Words, like Ideas, must be universally unchanging, to accurately represent the infinite Forms they represent (Truth, Beauty, Virtue,Goodness...) Even with finite, changeable ideas; the word 'Christianity' should mean one thing to all people, or else they've not gathered the knowledge that encompasses that meaning.
  
The word 'determinism', by definition, limits meaning. It can't logically mean 'other things' to lots of people.

Chat about Babel...or XVI. the Blasted Tower?
("The will to live, and the will to die?" Schopenhaur)

I'm thinking now about the phrase "the will of God",   and does it suggest we are closer to God because we possess free will? Back to our joke, Steven, but in all seriousness, does God/Truth somehow employ free will to maintain Itself? Or is perfection, by definition, unchanging, with no need for maintainence? "We're still a long, long way, baby..." I can't see how God/Truth has a will,yet I can see how God is independent yet causing an effect, pre-determinism.  

It is our desire/love/art to see and express this perfection of Truth that must be maintained...back to the will to live, and the will to die.

[This message has been edited by kif kif (07-01-2006 08:44 PM).]

kif kif
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59 posted 06-30-2006 12:57 PM       View Profile for kif kif   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for kif kif

Steven you asked "if there is a Truth, right, or reality, then why, and on what authority does it stand"? The authority of indifference to cause and effect, or the agent of motion, which is time?
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60 posted 06-30-2006 03:08 PM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

kif kif,

I will respond by early next week.  Its a work weekiend for me, and I don't want to just "peck" at the conversation.  Know what I mean?


Do you have e-mail BTW?  I didn't see it on your profile.

Essorant,

that goes for you too.    


enjoying the conversation


Stephen.

[This message has been edited by Stephanos (07-01-2006 12:33 AM).]

beautyincalvary
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61 posted 08-05-2006 10:49 PM       View Profile for beautyincalvary   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for beautyincalvary

Why do people think there has to be a "why" we are here.

Couldn't we just have happened?

Does it scare people to think we may have no purpose?

We are doing what are animal instincts tell us to... reproduce to survive as a species.
Stephanos
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62 posted 08-08-2006 03:11 AM       View Profile for Stephanos   Email Stephanos   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Stephanos's Home Page   View IP for Stephanos

beautyincalvary:
quote:
Why do people think there has to be a "why" we are here.



That's a good question.  It's interesting that the greatest part of humanity has thought that there must be a "why".


An additional question might be: "If there is no higher purpose for our existence, where did we get such a pervasive and obstinate idea?"


quote:
Couldn't we just have happened?


I really don't think so.  But granting you that, we're talking about the cogency of ideas, rather than mere possibility.


quote:
Does it scare people to think we may have no purpose?

We are doing what are animal instincts tell us to... reproduce to survive as a species.

It's notable how those who try to shed the idea of "divine purpose" always end up with surrogates.  Even asking whether it "scares" people to think they might be without ultimate significance, presupposes a teleology of courage and right thinking, over against cowardice and irrationality.  


And "surviving as a species" becomes questionable as a worthy goal, under a purposeless existence.  How can you avoid the pessimism of Shopenhaur, and other philosophers who seriously entertained the idea of a purposeless world?  The romantic idea that humanity should continue was one that Shopenhaur disdained.  For according to him, Life = Pain.  


So I think you're forgetting that the value of courage and survival itself is at the bar, if the court is questioning purpose itself.  


Stephen.
 
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